HUMAN PLANET Book Production Case Study

Photography, Television, Wildlife & Nature
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Some of the shoots for major BBC Wildlife and Natural History series can last weeks and be spread out over years. Having a photographer on location all the time just isn’t practical. You usually rely on a combination of library sources, screen grabs or skilled snappers from within the crew augmenting the work of professional stills photographers present for some of the time. Human Planet was exceptional in that Timothy Allen was present at enough of the locations to produce an entire book of material solo. I happen to think what resulted was a pretty gorgeous photo essay of his work, and a fitting companion to a fascinating series.

Human Planet is the first natural history documentary series to turn the camera on ourselves, the human species. Taking the same approach as Planet Earth, it will explain how human beings have learnt to live on every habitat, from our origins in the Jungle to our domination of Grasslands to the Desert, Ocean, Rivers, the creation of our own environment, Urban, and the challenges of the Arctic mountains.

But this is also a story about how we have learnt to adapt to the most inhospitable landscapes and work in partnership with other animal species. From the Bajau sea gypsies to the Korowai tribe of West Papau who live in treehouses, the honey birds in Kenya that lead the Masai people to honey, the men who fish with dolphins in Brazil and the Papuan tribesmen who mimic the courtship dances of the birds of paradise, this is the remarkable story of our relationship with nature.


  • Published in January 2011, by BBC Books / Random House UK
  • Tie-in to BBC series broadcast in the UK in Autumn 2011, narrated by actor John Hurt
  • Multiple language Co-editions
  • Colour managed reproduction of Timothy Allen's commissioned photography
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